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Looking for great bread in Vancouver

marko65 Aug 11, 2011 08:42 PM

I recently moved from Victoria to Vancouver and I'm looking for a great bakery here. Specifically looking for bread made with natural yeast and cooked in a wood fired oven. Dense, chewy bread that needs nothing on it but maybe a bit of butter.

Victoria has Wild Fire and Fol Epi (two exceptional bakeries) and Comox has Church Street Woodfired Bakery but I can't find anything like these bakeries in Vancouver.

People have suggested Terra Breads but I tried their bread and it's mealy without character.

Any suggestions?

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  1. Sam Salmon RE: marko65 Aug 11, 2011 08:55 PM

    Nothing wood fired of note now in the city-try Romanian Country Bread in Steveston Village.


    3 Replies
    1. re: Sam Salmon
      Quattrociocchi RE: Sam Salmon Oct 7, 2011 07:19 AM

      Be prepared for sticker shock at Romanian - $10/loaf. A ten dollar loaf of bread better blow me away (it didn't ) but the wood oven is impressive to look at. My favorite bread these days is homemade - checkout the "It's just food" website - try the no-knead bread - sounds right up your alley and it's ridiculously easy.

      1. re: Sam Salmon
        gnashingshitfactory RE: Sam Salmon Oct 9, 2011 03:24 PM

        2 words for the Romanian bakery;
        Yuck! Expensive!

        Not wood fired- but for crusty/chewy breads,
        Fieldstone Artisan Breads ( White Rock) have a to-die-for piccolo.
        Terra on Granville Island is always great.
        Cobs(everywhere) has some nice stuff.

        Other than that..try a (new) ceramic kiln shelf, put it on the BBQ & have yourself a 500+ degree oven ( works for me)

        1. re: gnashingshitfactory
          herbrick RE: gnashingshitfactory Oct 11, 2011 07:33 AM

          I have been baking bread in my BBQ for a while now using fire bricks (normally used in wood stoves). Cheap, indestructible and the bread has an amazing crust.

      2. fmed RE: marko65 Aug 11, 2011 09:51 PM

        I envy Victoria's bread. You won't find anything in the league of Fol Epi here.

        1. j
          jerkstore RE: marko65 Aug 11, 2011 10:39 PM

          Not sure if it will be up to your standards, and it's not wood-fired AFAIK, but I like the bread from Manzano in Metrotown. Worth a shot...better than Terra I think, anyways.

          1. flowbee RE: marko65 Aug 12, 2011 02:48 PM

            I recommend Swiss Bakery. I love the taste of their organic baguettes. I buy them par-baked and freeze them until I need them, then just defrost them and finish them off in the oven on my baking stone. Tangy, flavourful, aromatic crumb and great crust.

            Swiss Bakery
            143 E 3rd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

            1. k
              kinnickinnik RE: marko65 Aug 13, 2011 01:48 PM

              No longer wood fired but still my favourite bread in Vancouver is the chewy, hearty and very satisfying peasant bread from Transilvania bakery, now @ Beyond Bread, 4th near Alma

              1. e
                eatrustic RE: marko65 Oct 6, 2011 07:52 PM

                For those who are fans, word has it that A Bread Affair is going into Granville Island in the next while.
                (Wonder how long they had to work at the name to get the letters closest to the top of the alphabetical listings :)

                3 Replies
                1. re: eatrustic
                  Sam Salmon RE: eatrustic Oct 6, 2011 08:20 PM

                  This is News!!!

                  I Love their products-I wonder where the store will be-not in the market I imagine.

                  1. re: eatrustic
                    islandgirl RE: eatrustic Oct 16, 2011 01:29 PM

                    That would be great news. We're currently enjoying a loaf of their Pemberton Potato and Leek bread that I picked up at the Kits Farmers Market this morning. Yummy!

                    1. re: eatrustic
                      brokentelephone RE: eatrustic Aug 10, 2012 11:45 AM

                      Is that still a thing? I haven't looked at the White Pages in over 12 years.

                    2. LotusRapper RE: marko65 Oct 6, 2011 08:14 PM

                      I like La Baguette et L'Echalote on Granville Island.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: LotusRapper
                        marko65 RE: LotusRapper Oct 13, 2011 09:44 AM

                        This is going to make me seem like a real snob but I find their bread on par with Wonderbread. Buy a baguette from La Baguette and one from Beyond Bread (the best baguette I've found so far?) and try them side by side. Tear, cut, plain, buttered, toasted, not toasted. Let me know what you think.

                        1. re: marko65
                          grayelf RE: marko65 Oct 13, 2011 03:35 PM

                          I buy one very good thing from La Baguette: their potato buns (they come in mini, hot dog or hamburger size). Perfect vehicles for dogs/sausages and burgs.

                          1. re: grayelf
                            marko65 RE: grayelf Oct 13, 2011 06:31 PM

                            I'll give them a try. I've been using ciabatta buns from Whole Foods as hamburger buns.

                            1. re: marko65
                              grayelf RE: marko65 Oct 13, 2011 11:06 PM

                              Oh do, and let us know what you think. I am really sold on them, excellent structural integrity! Be sure to call ahead and book a half dozen though as they tend to sell out (or at least they did in the summer). They also freeze rather well which is a bonus.

                              1. re: marko65
                                thatwhileifound RE: marko65 Oct 14, 2011 10:07 AM

                                If I remember right, those ciabatta buns at WFM come from Pane E Formaggio. At least, the ones in West Van...

                                The La Baguette Potato Buns are incredible. I'm indebted to Zach @ Beer Brats for introducing me to those.

                                Pane E Formaggio
                                4532 10th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6R2J1, CA

                                1. re: thatwhileifound
                                  grayelf RE: thatwhileifound Oct 15, 2011 07:47 AM

                                  Nice one! I've only bought the brats to take home, didn't know he used the spud buns.

                                  1. re: thatwhileifound
                                    LotusRapper RE: thatwhileifound Nov 26, 2011 10:00 PM

                                    Speaking of potato buns, Strawberry Bakery (?) in the Il Mercato Mall on Commercial/1st Ave has pretty good potato buns and portuguese buns.

                          2. 1
                            123 RE: marko65 Oct 6, 2011 09:28 PM

                            Swiss Bakery 143 East 3rd Avenue (off Main Street)

                            Swiss Bakery
                            143 E 3rd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

                            Main Street Cafe
                            317 MacKenzie, Revelstoke, BC V0E2S1, CA

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: 123
                              eatrustic RE: 123 Oct 16, 2011 12:46 PM

                              Stopped into Benny's in Strathcona yesterday, they make a great value deli sandwich to order on what looks like a Portuguese style bun and when I asked they said they came from Swiss bakery and are called Swiss Buns.
                              They sell them as well and there's a choice of white or whole wheat. Both are excellent (especially the whole wheat, which is often not that great).
                              Two buns for 96 cents is an outstanding value for a large, quality bun! No idea what they sell for at Swiss Bakery but they get my vote for best all round bun in the city (the potato bun from La Baguette is excellent but more specialized).

                              Swiss Bakery
                              143 E 3rd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

                              1. re: eatrustic
                                Sam Salmon RE: eatrustic Oct 16, 2011 04:32 PM

                                Well that's it-somebody spilled the beans about the Swiss Buns from Benny's-I knew it was too good to last.

                                Danged internet!

                                1. re: Sam Salmon
                                  grayelf RE: Sam Salmon Oct 16, 2011 09:20 PM

                                  Nice tip! I routinely pick up cheese and cranberry (separately, not together!) scones from Swiss Bakery on Third for our morning snacks. I will deffo check to see if they have the Swiss buns next time.

                                  Totally agree about the potato buns, much as I love them. They are for me at least single purpose for bbq'd snausages or burgs.

                                  Swiss Bakery
                                  143 E 3rd Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T, CA

                            2. peter.v RE: marko65 Oct 6, 2011 09:49 PM

                              My favorite breads are from the Farmers' Markets. Rise Artisan makes a terrific levain and a number of other great breads. Purebread from Whistler make the trip down every once in awhile and their breads are tasty too.

                              Unfortunately the above two aren't wood fired. Pretty tough to get approval for a wood oven these days unfortunately. Wish there were more bakeries like Fol Epi around.

                              1. b
                                brokentelephone RE: marko65 Oct 13, 2011 01:01 AM

                                I have heard good things about a place called Mix on 10th near UBC

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: brokentelephone
                                  Sam Salmon RE: brokentelephone Oct 13, 2011 08:00 AM

                                  Sorry in advance for the bad pun but I've had very mixed results with the product from Mix-outstanding once and almost inedible the next-Staff are apathetic at best.

                                  Six months later the same thing happened.

                                  1. re: Sam Salmon
                                    grayelf RE: Sam Salmon Oct 13, 2011 08:23 AM

                                    I've had good luck with their hummingbird loaf.

                                    1. re: grayelf
                                      brokentelephone RE: grayelf Jan 6, 2012 12:52 PM

                                      My pops swears by their baguette.

                                2. k
                                  kluv2cruz RE: marko65 Oct 23, 2011 10:29 AM

                                  Speaking of Victoria - the bread at the James Bay Saturday market looked amazing and had an incredibly long lineup. Must be good!

                                  Not dense/chewy as you describe, but a trip to Afra Bakery on Pemberton in North Vancouver is worthwhile - in the back of the crowded grocery store is a stone bed gas fired oven that they bake persian flat bread on. It's fun to watch the guy make it. Then, you can grab the bread fresh after it comes out of the oven. It gets eaten in the car on the way home with a tub of their humous (in the fridge at the back) or garlicky yogurt spreads in the display case near the front by the olives. Also - the yogurt (in normal or large tubs in the fridge in the back) is the best I've ever had and quite affordable.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: kluv2cruz
                                    marko65 RE: kluv2cruz Oct 23, 2011 10:34 AM

                                    I'll give Afra a try. Thanks

                                    Sounds like you had Frys Red Wheat Bread

                                    1. re: marko65
                                      kluv2cruz RE: marko65 Oct 23, 2011 11:16 AM

                                      Frys Red Wheat Bread - you mean at James Bay Market? It was BEAUTIFUL and I regret not taking a picture. I was in Victoria on a cruise ship and went straight to the market to pick up some flowers (amazingly beautiful & reasonable, almost like Pike Place) - anyway, saw the bread, saw the lineup, wanted to take a pic but really couldn't get in close with all the people. A couple of hours later I went back and no lineup because all the bread was gone! Had a great talk with the seller. Another time perhaps.

                                    2. re: kluv2cruz
                                      lunchslut RE: kluv2cruz Nov 26, 2011 11:09 AM

                                      Afra's sangkak bread is is amazing and I do the exact same thing but instead of the tub of humous buy a tub of yogurt with shallots...

                                    3. Le Beep RE: marko65 Nov 17, 2011 08:12 PM

                                      Not that this helps, exactly, but I was just in Tofino and tried an outstanding sourdough spelt kamut loaf from 600 Degrees Bakery (http://600degrees.ca/). The baker herself was dropping off a still-warm order at Beaches and although my friends and I had plenty of bread already, these loaves were clearly not to be missed. Definitely the best bread I've had in ages: hand-shaped, locally milled top-quality flour, wood-fired, wild leavened...

                                      Seems odd that wood-fired pizza joints are now chock-a-block and equivalent bakeries are yet to catch up. Attention pizza purveyors: how about some loaves for those jonesing after a little char?

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Le Beep
                                        fmed RE: Le Beep Nov 17, 2011 08:53 PM

                                        Love her bread which she bakes in an Alan Scott (RIP) oven. I recall she apprenticed under him to learn how to build that style of brick oven. That's dedication to the craft.

                                        1. re: fmed
                                          Sam Salmon RE: fmed Nov 17, 2011 09:13 PM

                                          FWIW Faubourg up in Kerrisdale does an outstanding Baguette and their other products are equally as good.


                                        2. re: Le Beep
                                          NoMoreSnuggles RE: Le Beep Nov 18, 2011 12:24 PM

                                          I've wondered the same thing. But, while it's not a bakery, Pizzeria Farina does sell little mini loaves of bread made from last night leftover dough. It's outstanding!

                                        3. l
                                          lunchslut RE: marko65 Nov 26, 2011 11:12 AM

                                          I think Terra breads can be described as many things but no matter how much I think about this comment (it has been 4 months), I would never describe the crumb to be mealy. I can't help but to think you may have mixed up Terra Breads with La Baguette or Stuart's on Granville Island or worse yet Cob's in Kits.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: lunchslut
                                            marko65 RE: lunchslut Nov 26, 2011 11:29 AM

                                            It was Terra Breads. May have been a particular loaf. Not as bad as La Baguette. :-)

                                            Have you had a chance to try Wild Fire or Fol Epi? They really set the standard for me.

                                            1. re: marko65
                                              lunchslut RE: marko65 Nov 26, 2011 06:05 PM

                                              I'll have to try them next time I am over the strait. (I will hold back the speech on how taste is subjective and one man's Wonderbread is another man's Fol Epi)

                                              Just one suggestion. Stay away from bread at T&T.

                                              1. re: lunchslut
                                                eatrustic RE: lunchslut Nov 26, 2011 06:36 PM

                                                Anyone who is serious about good bread has to put a place where the owner/baker built his own oven - a world class one- designed and built his own flour mill and mills almost all his flour onsite using organic grains and then bakes a range of excellent breads- right at the top of anyone's list of best small North American artisan bakeries.

                                                Fol Epis is that good (Wild Fire is his old bakery). He will also will start making a killer authentic Panettone any day now.... Lucky Victoria.

                                                1. re: eatrustic
                                                  fmed RE: eatrustic Nov 26, 2011 10:06 PM

                                                  Fol Epi is in a different league. Nothing in Vancouver comes close. The panettone sounds great. I wonder if we can petition him to make a stollen.

                                                  1. re: fmed
                                                    eatrustic RE: fmed Nov 26, 2011 10:44 PM

                                                    "I wonder if we can petition him to make a stollen."

                                                    He does, and although it's kind of wholegrain-like it is delish. One of my favourites last year.

                                                    1. re: eatrustic
                                                      fmed RE: eatrustic Nov 27, 2011 07:20 AM

                                                      Woot! (I do now recall you mentioned that to me last year.)

                                                2. re: lunchslut
                                                  marko65 RE: lunchslut Nov 26, 2011 08:31 PM

                                                  Haha. I hear you, I think you'll be really impressed with their breads. Baking there is fantastic as well.

                                                  1. re: marko65
                                                    Sam Salmon RE: marko65 Nov 26, 2011 10:05 PM

                                                    The Best Bread is made from Wheat grown in the baker's front yard fertlised by droppings from his organically raised Chickens-anything less is underwhelming.

                                                    Further demerits for a wood fired oven that uses anything less than hand gathered driftwood as fuel.


                                                    1. re: Sam Salmon
                                                      marko65 RE: Sam Salmon Nov 26, 2011 10:39 PM

                                                      Still looking.

                                            2. h
                                              hotsaucedon RE: marko65 Nov 27, 2011 09:40 PM

                                              Didn't see it listed so my vote for Le Beau Patisserie my fave baugette n only two bucks not wood fired but pretty d@#m fine try their blueberry rice pies as well

                                              1. h
                                                hotsaucedon RE: marko65 Nov 27, 2011 09:42 PM

                                                Siegels bagels on cornwall is wood fired but bagels only

                                                1. k
                                                  kinnickinnik RE: marko65 Jan 3, 2012 04:58 PM

                                                  So sad: Beyond Bread is no more. No more Transylvanian peasant bread :-(

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: kinnickinnik
                                                    Sam Salmon RE: kinnickinnik Jan 3, 2012 06:18 PM


                                                    I was there Saturday there was no hint of impending doom.

                                                    If this is true there was some serious mismanagement-the place was Sold Out more often than not.

                                                    1. re: Sam Salmon
                                                      kinnickinnik RE: Sam Salmon Jan 3, 2012 09:42 PM

                                                      My SO went to get bread today and found it closed with a brief note thanking customers for the past 7 years of patronage.

                                                      I'm signed up for the bread making class he's giving at UBC farm in a couple of weeks - I'll get the scoop there I hope. Really bummed about this. I make my own bread mostly but when I want a break from mine (not bad but with a home oven, crust is lacking), the peasant bread was my go-to.

                                                      1. re: kinnickinnik
                                                        Sam Salmon RE: kinnickinnik Jan 4, 2012 08:01 PM

                                                        Desperate for Good News I phoned A Bread Affair and asked about their proposed Granville Island opening.

                                                        The person I spoke was adamant that it's still on but dates have been pushed back to sometime this spring-so the carb deprived have something to look forward to.


                                                        1. re: Sam Salmon
                                                          marko65 RE: Sam Salmon Jan 4, 2012 08:35 PM

                                                          For my money A Bread Affair is okay, nothing more. Nice to see a bakery at Granville Island though.

                                                          1. re: Sam Salmon
                                                            Anne M RE: Sam Salmon Oct 12, 2012 04:00 PM

                                                            Is this still happening? Seems pretty unlikely 9 months later.

                                                            1. re: Anne M
                                                              Sam Salmon RE: Anne M Oct 12, 2012 04:10 PM

                                                              I guess not they had some organisational changes/moved the main operation so the GI move never materialised.

                                                          2. re: kinnickinnik
                                                            eatrustic RE: kinnickinnik Jan 11, 2012 06:03 PM

                                                            So, in the "Faint Hope" category the sign on the door of Beyond Bread now says " closed for renovations -reopening Feb. 1".

                                                            My take is that they have new ownership as a peek through the papered-up window shows everything in place despite the "thanks for 7 years" note of a week or so ago and there isn't one of the dreaded bank seizure notices on the door.

                                                            In the meantime walk across the street to La Ghianda and buy one of their excellent Ciabattas for 4 bucks.

                                                            1. re: eatrustic
                                                              Sam Salmon RE: eatrustic Jan 11, 2012 07:14 PM

                                                              La Baguette & Co 3273 W. Broadway has a decent selection of Baguettes- I'm starting to like them more and more.


                                                            2. re: kinnickinnik
                                                              clutterer RE: kinnickinnik Feb 17, 2012 01:11 PM

                                                              Beyond Bread is open again.

                                                              1. re: clutterer
                                                                Sam Salmon RE: clutterer Feb 17, 2012 03:27 PM

                                                                Thanks for that must try to stop by tomorrow.

                                                                OTOH that place was always running out of everything before I got there and it's going to be an uphill battle for someone re-entering the marketplace after an unexplained glitch

                                                                I've largely switched my allegiance to Baguette & Co-a large variety of outstanding products coupled with warm friendly service make them a winner.


                                                                1. re: Sam Salmon
                                                                  grayelf RE: Sam Salmon Feb 17, 2012 09:37 PM

                                                                  Speaking of Baguette and Co, I believe they are now supplying snacks (though not bread) to Kafka's.

                                                          3. re: kinnickinnik
                                                            kinnickinnik RE: kinnickinnik Jan 21, 2012 10:46 AM

                                                            Turns out he's re-opening in Feb!

                                                            The workshop at UBC farm with him was excellent - I've been baking my own bread for years but his lesson made me reconsider some of my methods. I'll put what he taught us into practice.

                                                            As for the closing - it's nothing to do with mismanagement but as he ponders his next steps, enjoy the return of Transylvanian peasant bread (and his wonderful baguettes) while you can.

                                                            1. re: kinnickinnik
                                                              breadbreadbread RE: kinnickinnik Oct 12, 2012 02:30 PM

                                                              Coincidentally, Byron from Fry's Red Wheat Bread in Victoria taught Florin how to make those baguettes when he first opened Beyond Bread! The bread world is pretty small. Byron just opened his brick and mortar bakery on Craigflower rd in Victoria.

                                                          4. c
                                                            cucinelle RE: marko65 Jan 6, 2012 12:16 AM

                                                            Not wood fired but dense and chewy just the same, Breka on 49th and Fraser has a large selection
                                                            of sourdoughs and ryes from San Fran whites to pumpernickel dark. Also a large strudel, cake pastry and killer old style doughnut section. Latino Market on 13th and Commercial has top notch homemade Portugese bread, thick crust and dense middles, a good 2 pounder and great with butter. The corn bread is also top notch.

                                                            1. m
                                                              marko65 RE: marko65 Feb 17, 2012 01:21 PM

                                                              Buns at Sciué Italian Bakery Caffé are tasty.

                                                              1. k
                                                                kinnickinnik RE: marko65 Mar 14, 2012 11:47 AM

                                                                Hey there fans of Beyond Bread (Transylvanian bakery) - if you're also a home baker here's some news:

                                                                Florin is once again offering his bread workshop at UBC farm:

                                                                Knead to know: The basics of baking delicious bread at home

                                                                Flour up your hands and get ready to rise into the world of bread. Artisan baker Florin Moldovan will describe the science behind the perfect loaf, the grains that form it and some of the cultural lore of baking bread. This beginner workshop will provide participants with the techniques needed to make excellent loaves at home using readily available ingredients.
                                                                Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 6-9pm
                                                                Cost: $30 (+ $1.74 registration fee). Materials included.
                                                                To register and for more information: http://knead-to-know.eventbrite.ca/

                                                                I attended his class earlier this year and learned a bunch even though I've been making my own bread for many years. Good fun too! If you're interested, hurry - it'll fill up in a flash!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: kinnickinnik
                                                                  Le Beep RE: kinnickinnik Mar 14, 2012 04:48 PM

                                                                  I just tried to register and it's waitlisted already! Fingers crossed that someone drops out...

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